Ten Hens Write with Ten Pens


Read and write words that end with -en.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • hen
  • pen
  • ten
  • men
  • den


  • Ten writing pens
  • Container labeled "Ten Pens from Ten Hens"
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper
  • Hen name tags (see below)
  • All Hens Got a Pen target text (see below)
  • A Hen Gave Pens to Other Hens target text (see below)
  • Book: Hen’s Pens by Phil Roxbee (Usborne Pub Ltd, 2002)(optional)
  • Book: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin (Simon Spotlight, 2016)(optional)

State and model the objective
The children will play with hens and pens as they practice reading and writing words that end in -en, such as hen, pen, ten, men, and den.

Practice the skill within an activity
Write with ten pens

  • Distribute the Hen 1-9 name tags to each of nine children (small group or chosen from class) and keep the "Hen 10" name tag for yourself
  • Say the lines from the All Hens Got a Pen target text as you pass out a writing pen to each of the "hens" (children).
  • Keep a pen to hold up and say the last lines of the text then point out to the children that hen, pen, and ten all have the same -en ending, and write "en" on the board.
  • Invite the children to take turns writing "en" on a piece of paper, as you all say, "Hen 1 wrote en," and so forth until everyone has had a turn.
  • Ask, “Do you think Hen 10 could write -en with ten pens at the same time?"
  • Show the children how to write "en" on a piece of paper with 10 pens by holding 10 pens in your fist (if you cannot write with the 10 pens, write with as many as possible) as you write, and let the children try writing with as many pens as they can hold.
  • Point out that all ten hens got to write -en with a pen, then have each "hen" put their pen in the container labeled "Ten Pens from 10 Hens," as you all count, "A pen from Hen 1," etc.

Apply the Skill
Read target words/patterns introduced in the activity (see texts below)

  • Display the A Hen Gave Away Ten Pens target text (see below) large enough for all of the children to see.
  • Read the target text to the children.
  • Engage them in a joint reading of the text.
  • Have the children circle all the words that end with -en.

Identify, blend and manipulate sounds 

  • Write an h on one sticky note and -en on another.
  • Have the children read the initial sound /h/ then the -en ending,  and finally blend the sounds together to make the word hen.
  • Ask the children if they can think of other words that end with -en (e.g., pen, men, den, ten).
  • Write the initial sound from their words on a sticky note, put it in front of the "en," and help the children blend the sounds together to make new words.

Write about the activity using target words/patterns

  • Let the children write the words they all created in the last activity on their own -en word list.
  • Have the children write 2–3 simple sentences using their list (e.g., The hen had a pen. The pen is in the den.).

SEEL Target Texts

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A Hen Gave Away Ten Pens

A hen had ten pens.
She gave away her pens.
She gave a pen to ten hens.
Each of the hens got a pen!
All the hens wrote with the pens. 
The hens wrote the words: hen, ten, and pen.
Then a hen wrote a word with all ten pens!
Can you write a word with ten pens?

All Hens Got a Pen

Hen 10 had ten pens.
Hen 10 gave pens to other hens.  
Hen 1 got a pen.
Hen 2 got a pen.
Hen 3 got a pen.
Hen 4 got a pen.
Hen 5 got a pen.
Hen 6 got a pen.
Hen 7 got a pen.
Hen 8 got a pen.
Hen 9 got a pen.
Hen 10 still has a pen.
All the hens got pens!



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CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.B: Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.D: Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)